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But it's not just your heart that's at risk from too much sitting; your hips, spine, and shoulders could also suffer.

In fact, it's not a leap to say that a chair-potato lifestyle can ruin you from head to toe.

I smooth out my towel and lean back and close my eyes. I can hear kids shrieking with laughter because two seagulls are trying to steal their popcorn. I also note that “at least he can read” and I wonder what he is reading.

I can smell the lighter fluid and charcoal of a grill getting started. I open my eyes and notice a guy sitting nearby with his shirt off, holding an open book in his lap.

New evidence suggests, in fact, that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are.

That's right: Even a sculpted six-pack can't protect you from your chair.

Let's say, for example, you're a busy guy who works 60 hours a week at a desk job but who still manages to find time for five 45-minute bouts of exercise. (Put your body to the test: 10 standards to assess your fitness level.) But Marc Hamilton, Ph. Perhaps "exercising couch potato" would be more accurate, but Hamilton, a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, would still classify you as sedentary.

"People tend to view physical activity on a single continuum," he says.

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